European common values are

  • human dignity;
  • freedom;
  • democracy; 
  • equality;
  • the rule of law; and 
  • respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

These are values our Member States have in common. They form the fabric of our Union that binds countries, communities and people together (Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union).

Inclusive and high quality education and training, at all levels, as well as the European dimension of teaching, are paramount for creating and maintaining a cohesive European society. Learning about Europe's common heritage and diversity, and getting a good understanding of the origins and functioning of the EU is essential for every citizen.

The proposal for a Council Recommendation on Common values, Inclusive Education and the European Dimension of Teaching was adopted in January 2018. Its goal is to strengthen national democracies and bolster our Union. It is also aimed at strengthening social cohesion in order to fight the rise of populism, xenophobia, radicalisation, divisive nationalism and the spreading of fake news. 

Four objectives form the core of the proposal:

  1. Promote common values at all levels of education;
  2. Foster more inclusive education; 
  3. Encourage a European dimension of teaching, without prejudice to the national prerogatives in this realm;
  4. Support teachers and teaching.

These are in line with the ongoing work on implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. The European Union’s tools and funding instruments – in particular the Erasmus+ programme and the European Structural and Investment Funds - will support the implementation of this Recommendation.

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